How does Solar Energy Work?

Watch this video to understand how solar energy works and why it’s good for you.

*We do not own this video.

The Solar Panel Energy Process

Solar Panels

First Step

Solar panels, made of photovoltaic (PV) cells, are installed on the roof. During the daytime, the PV cells convert sunlight to direct current (DC) electricity.


Second Step

The DC current runs through the INVERTER, a device included with solar panel installation. The inverter turns DC current into alternating current (AC) electricity. This is the standard electrical current used to power everything in .

Utility Meter

Third Step

The UTILITY METER measures a home’s electrical supply. When a homeowner’s solar system produces more electricity than needed, the meter actually spins backwards! Depending on which one of a variety of state, federal or local solar energy incentive programs is in effect for that house, this extra energy is recorded and either credited or sold back to the homeowner to his or her economic benefit.

Utility Grid

Fourth Step

A home can be reaping the economic and environmental benefits of solar power and still have the advantages of remaining connected to the regional utility grid. In bright sunshine, for instance, a 4- kilowatt (kW) system would produce 4 kW of electricity. When overcast, only ultraviolet rays penetrate the clouds, and it might produce 2.5 kW. If a home needs more electrical power than the amount of solar energy that has been produced on a particular day, the utility grid supplies that home with all the electrical power needed.

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